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Cross-Pollination/
Flowering Group

In order for a tree to bear fruit, it needs to be cross-pollinated by another tree that flowers around the same time. Some trees bloom early season (groups 1 and 2) so trees belonging to group 1 can be cross-pollinated only by those in groups 1 and 2. Below is a list of which groups can cross-pollinate one another. Cross-pollinating trees need to be planted within 50' of one another. If this is not possible for you, you can choose a self-fertile variety that can pollinate itself.

1: 1 and 2

2: 1 and 2 and 3

3: 2 and 3 and 4

4: 3 and 4 and 5

5: 4 and 5 and 6

6: 5 and 6 and 7

7: 6

Climate/Hardiness

There are some trees that can do well in cold temperatures and others that will be damaged. This is why each tree has a hardiness zones range, e.g. 3-7 which indicates the corresponding zones it can grow in. The lower the number, the colder the temperatures. Trees with hardiness zone of 3-7 can grow in places that have a hardiness zone of 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7, but not 2 since it would be damaged by the cold. You can calculate the hardiness zone of your zipcode here

Tree Size/Rootstock

The type of rootstock directly influences the size the tree will grow. While standard apple trees can produce larger crop, they are often harder to maintain and harvest which can make dwarf and semi-dwarf trees more appealing. On the shop page we have linked each rootstock with the size of the tree for your convenience. These are the sizes and their corresponding heights.

Dwarf Trees:  8-10 feet 

Semi-Dwarf: 12-17 feet 

Semi-Standard: 18-25 feet

Standard: 30 feet and up 

Tree Location
  • Are cross-pollinators within 50 ft?

  • Is there access to sun?

  • Does the soil have good drainage? 

  • Will the surroundings be blocked by the full grown tree?​

  • Have you spaced wisely?

    • ​Dwarf: 8 to 10 ft apart

    • Semi-Dwarf: 12 to 15 ft apart

    • Standard: 18 to 20 ft apart

Soil Preparation

A healthy apple tree needs soil with nutrients and a pH of 6.0-7.0. Below are some nutrients you can add to the planting area when the ground isn't frozen or water saturated. Do NOT directly add into the planting hole since this will discourage the tree roots from growing outwards.

  • compost, sand, manure, grass clippings, and shredded leaves

  • garden lime when soil pH is too low 

  • sphagnum/peat moss when soil pH is too high

Planting

You can find our material and procedure checklist  here for an easy planting experience!

Animal Damage Prevention

Immediately after planting the tree, place a tree guard around the trunk to protect it from rabbits and rodents who will eat the bark and kill your tree. The tree guards should let air flow in. Spiral  guards which rap around the bark are the best protectors but they aren’t recommended in the summer since insects can create habitats between the mouse guard and the bark. Deer can also eat the bark so you should use proper fencing to protect the tree. 

Pruning

If you want your tree to grow properly, then immediately after planting, you should prune the tree so that the main shoots are cut back a little. In the case of non-standard trees, the leading stem should be cut to about 36-40”. Note that before shipping, we may prune so that the tree fits into the container in which case you will notice the cuts and won’t need to prune.

Training

The ideal angle for the tree limbs is 60° since this will not only allow more light to reach all leaves, but also allow the optimal amount of fruit production. If the limbs are too vertical, there will be mostly vegetative growth. If the limbs are too horizontal, there will be mostly fruit and little vegetative growth. The ideal angle for the limb is 60° down from the vertical or 30° up from horizontal. There are different techniques for creating this angle which can be found in our video or this document